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Regionally Accredited Online Master's in Criminal Justice: A Students' Guide

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 4/2/2014

This article will discuss the elements of a regionally accredited online Master's in criminal justice, as well as what you can do once you obtain this degree.

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    Criminal justice is a field of law in which laws are studied and applied regarding criminal behavior. A regionally accredited online Master's in criminal justice will allow individuals to establish a career in this field or advance their current career.

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    Required Courses

    Obtaining this degree requires students to take specific courses from four different categories. These four categories include theoretical core, research core, administrative and policy core and special topics. The theoretical core courses include seminar in criminal justice, practice and theory of law enforcement, pro-seminar in social and law control, philosophy and theory of corrections and seminar in criminology.

    The administrative and policy core courses include criminal justice management, juvenile justice system and criminal justice policy analysis.

    The research core courses include basic research methods in criminal justice, applied criminal justice research methods and applied statistics in criminal justice. Students will need to complete four out of five of the special topics courses and they include seminar on white-collar crime, seminar on crime and the life course, seminar on police effectiveness, seminar on community corrections and seminar on correctional rehabilitation.

    Students will also have to complete a demonstration research project to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained by completing the required courses of this degree.

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    Average Completion Time

    Completing a this online Master's in criminal justice will take 80 weeks. With breaks and holiday vacations, this online degree will take full-time students about two years to complete. It will take part-time students about three and a half years, but very few online schools will allow students to complete this online Master's degree on a part-time basis.

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    Top Online Schools

    The University of Cincinnati offers a regionally accredited online Master's in criminal justice. Students who wish to pursue this degree will first need a Bachelor's degree from another regionally accredited university. Their degree can be in criminal justice or in any field. Students will also need to complete an admissions application and complete the Graduate Record Examination with at least a minimum score of 1,000 combined. They do not have to complete this exam if specific GPA requirements are met from previous college classes taken within two years and/or at least five years of criminal justice work experience. The application fee is $45.00.

    Students who reside in the state of Ohio will pay $425.00 per credit hour. Students who reside outside of the state of Ohio will pay $435.00 per credit hour.

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    Types of Possible Careers

    Regionally accredited online Master's in criminal justice Those who possess this degree can choose from several career paths. If they choose to work in a police department they can work their way up to police chief. Other police department jobs include police corporal, police sergeant, police lieutenant, police captain and deputy chief.

    There are also several different criminal justice specialty positions. These include FBI agents, bailiffs, police supervisors/managers, correctional officers and jailers, detectives and criminal investigators, border patrol agents, correctional officer managers/supervisors, private detectives and investigators, fish and game wardens, railroad and transit police officers, sheriffs and police patrol officers and forensic science technicians/crime scene investigators.

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    Career Outlook and Salary Information

    State workers usually make the highest salaries with an average salary of $52,540.00. The average annual salary for local employees is $47,190.00. The average annual salary for federal employees is $43,510.00. By 2016, it is estimated that this field will experience an 11 percent employment growth.

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    Why is it Better to Obtain this Degree Online?

    Obtaining this degree online will allow students to keep their current career and study at convenient times. They will still have assignment deadlines, but can study when they choose.

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    Before deciding on whether or not to pursue a regionally accredited online Master's in criminal justice it is a good idea to learn all about what is involved and what to expect afterward.

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    Resources

    Criminal Justice Schools. (2010). Future Outlook for Criminal Justice Careers. Retrieved on March 7, 2010 from Criminal Justice Schools: http://www.criminaljusticeschools.com/outlook

    Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011). Police and Detectives. Retrieved on March 17, 2011 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos160.htm

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    Image Credits

    Police Officer: julosstock – sxc.hu

    Clock: modeh30000 – sxc.hu